Feeling the summer heat? Cool off with five of the best pools to feature on Homes to Love this year
1. Dreamy Waikato new build
Kent and Olivia Fife’s outdoor area is the kind of place where you want to plonk yourself down on a hot summer’s day and stay there until sundown. Kent and Olivia are the owners of Line & Design Landscaping & Swimming Pools and have definitely brought their work home with them at their Matangi property. Many summer afternoons are spent in the oversized outdoor living room, making drinks, cooking on the barbecue, watching the kids in the pool and listening to their squeals of delight.
“We had a full landscape plan drawn up by Kent’s mother, Lynley, who is Line & Design’s design force,” explains Olivia. “She incorporated future plans for the pool and lined it up with the house, and located the trees and hedging. We then built the pool ourselves five years later. The kids adore it and use it from October to April, plus it provides such a beautiful outlook.”
2. Shelley Ferguson’s Palm Springs Paradise
Shelley Ferguson, 38 (editorial director of Your Home and Garden) and husband Steven Ferguson 38 (head coach of Piha Surf Lifesaving Club) turned their unloved garden into a Palm Springs paradise.
While the house did come with a pool, it was a dark and dated area due to old, cracking black pavers and lots of overhanging trees. Steve spent gruelling weeks sledgehammering out thick, old concrete and pavers and levelling the ground.
Shelley had dreamed of a Palm Springs-style breeze-block wall so designed the wall using Firth Solar Screen Blocks and had it built, by a blocklayer, across the back of the section to create a streamlined focal point instead of the former dark, busy background. She chose a concrete slab pour for the entire area surrounding the pool to maximise the extra room and make the space feel larger. “My vision has finally come to life!”
3. Herne Bay oasis
This view from their living area was the number-one concern for the owners of this Herne Bay property when they asked Damian Wendelborn of Auckland landscape design firm Urbanite to take a look at their garden.
After several discussions, the owners and design team opted to build a small swimming pool in front of the block wall to provide a more pleasing outlook as well as a great place for the family to kick back and enjoy themselves. The focal point of this garden is undoubtedly the wall of Timaru bluestone that lines one end of the pool area. “Its volcanic texture and blue-grey colour worked well with the stone found on site and seemed appropriate in Auckland’s volcanic environment,” says Damian.
Other materials, such as blue and brown mosaic tiles and sustainable hardwood decking, enhance and offset the stone. A cascade palm (Chamaedorea cataractarum) spills softly over the stone wall, connecting the lawn and pool areas and “feeding into the lush vibe”.
4. Ultimate entertaining in Nelson
When their four kids outgrew the play equipment on Stephen and Louise Busby’s property they decided their garden needed a redesign, this time with more of an adult focus. Key elements on their wish list included a pool for him and a formal outdoor entertaining area for her. Heidi Stewart of Canopy Landscape Architecture helped them achieve all this and more.
One of the main inspirations for their swimming pool area was a working holiday in Singapore, say the Busbys. “We loved relaxing poolside in a covered and sheltered outdoor area. Pinterest, magazines and friends’ gardens all played a role in our research.”
The designer drew all these factors together and came up with a resort-style outdoor space with a range of different zones. Facilities for entertaining and relaxing include a barbecue, pizza oven and spa area. Stepping-stone pavers separate a shallow “beach” section of the pool from the deeper part, while also connecting the paved dining terrace outside the house with a timber deck on the other side of the pool.
5. Inner city sanctuary
Owners Kate and Nick Thorpe, weren’t originally looking to move into town until they viewed this property, but they instantly fell in love with it. “It felt like a little slice of the country right in the middle of the city,” recalls Kate.
Compared to city views from the top storey, from its lower level, the outlook feels rural as the property overlooks the mouth of the Orakei Basin and the eye skims out over the water towards the bush surrounding St Heliers Bay Pony Club. An important part of the renovation was adding a pavilion living area which flows out to the lawn and a new pool.
“We used to sit upstairs looking down on our lawn and garden, but we didn’t get to enjoy it as much as we do now.”
If you are considering a pool for your own home here are the things to consider before building.